Valley hosting neighbours in major SAR exercise

From the air, land and water, the Skutz Falls area just west of Duncan will see an influx of search and rescue volunteers from up and down the Island this Sunday, but don’t worry citizens, it’s just to practice their skills.

Cowichan Search and Rescue is this year’s host of SAREX, a major joint exercise involving multiple groups training in various disciplines, according to Cowichan SAR spokesman Travis Bradley.

Search and Rescuers from teams based at Juan de Fuca, Ladysmith, Mount Arrowsmith, and even those from Nanaimo are expected to attend.

"We should have dozens of search and rescue folks running a joint exercise with RCMP," Bradley said.

"We’re going to have our swift water teams involved, our high angle ropes teams, and if the weather is good there should be search and rescue aircraft that should be involved."

Bradley noted RCMP would also be on hand to go through the criminal components involved in some searches.

"It’ll be a pretty big operation." Skutz Falls will not be closed to the public during the exercise, which is slated to run between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. "People should just be aware that the exercise is on," he said.